HAPI Project for moms and babies receives five-year grant

WVU program provides medical, dental and education help

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –The West Virginia Healthy Start/HAPI (Helping Appalachian Parents and Infants) Project will receive $3.5 million over the next five years to help women on Medicaid achieve healthy pregnancies and families.

One of almost 100 Healthy Start projects nationwide, HAPI’s efforts are focused on reducing infant mortality, reducing the incidence of low birth weight babies and eliminating racial disparities. Healthy Start is available in areas where the infant mortality rate is 1.5 times the national average.

Eligible women in eight counties – Barbour, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor and Upshur – can receive certain medical and dental services free for up to two years following the births of their babies.

The services HAPI provides include:

  • Education on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby, such as perinatal depression, healthy behaviors and healthy relationships
  •  Assistance finding and getting to treatment for depression, smoking cessation and family stress
  •  Services targeted to improve the mother’s health during and after pregnancy
  •  Prenatal oral health services

Started in 2001, the HAPI Project is a cooperative effort of the West Virginia University Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, the West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health and various community organizations.

To be eligible for the project, mothers-to-be must be West Virginia residents who are currently participating in the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health’s Right from the Start Project and must have a West Virginia Medicaid card.

Mothers between pregnancies are eligible based on criteria such as whether they smoke, are experiencing postpartum depression or have delivered a low birth weight baby.

To ask about eligibility for Right from the Start services, call the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health at 1-800-642-8522.

The project is federally funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

For information on the HAPI Project, call 304-293-1560 or see www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/obgyn/hapi.asp.

The federal Healthy Start Initiative receives $100 million in funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Health Resources and Services Administration. Established in 1991, Healthy Start is comprised of approximately 100 community-based programs that respond to the medical, social, cultural and social service needs of women and their infants. The WV Healthy Start/HAPI Project is a member of the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA). The NHSA supports the expansion of efforts that are rooted in the community and actively involve community members in their design and implementation. For information, visit www.healthystartassoc.org, or contact the NHSA at 202-296-2195.  




For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 06-02-09

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